Fox News analyst Gianno Caldwell says he was kicked out of a Miami cafe for discussing politics. Here, he explains to The Post how he was shocked by the intolerance.
The white woman across the restaurant was staring me down, a look of genuine disgust and disdain. It wasn’t, admittedly, the first time in my life I’d gotten this look. I wondered what, if anything, I’d done to deserve it.
I would soon learn she was the owner of the restaurant — and that she was tossing out me and my friends for my conservative beliefs.
On January 21, I’d been invited to Paradis Books and Bread in North Miami, Florida, for breakfast with a few of my new neighbors. I had never been to the restaurant, or even heard of it, but appreciated the opportunity to socialize with neighbors outside of our building.
As I sat at our table, the small group immediately began to pepper me with questions. One asked how I liked working as a political analyst for the Fox News channel. Another asked if I, a young black man, was “really” a conservative. I responded yes and, naturally, told them all about my book, “Taken For Granted, How Conservatism Can Win Back the Americans That Liberalism Failed.” We talked some about my baby brother, Christian, who was murdered on June 24, 2022, in Chicago.
We talked about solutions to violent crime in America, and I started calling out progressive district attorneys and bail reform laws that have created a safety net for criminals. I spoke about my meetings the week before in Washington, DC with members of Congress discussing justice for my brother as well as other victims of violent crime.
All the while we spoke, I regularly looked around the room because, as a public figure, I know people can record me or try to confront — or even attack — me in public spaces. So I am always aware of my surroundings. But I never saw this one coming, this woman with the disgusted glare.
Eventually, she walked up to our table and told me, “I have been listening to your conversation and you are not welcome here.” I was somewhat confused and asked if I’d said something that was triggering to her. She responded no, but then said that we were not “politically aligned.” She felt “uncomfortable” and, since she owned the place, we would have to leave.
At this point, I was completely shell-shocked. As someone who has received years of guff for being a black conservative, I could not help but wonder: Would she have done this to a white conservative?
What about my comments made her so uncomfortable? Was it me espousing conservative views that she had never heard from a black person? Was it me mentioning God and His place in my life?
I felt I’d fallen victim to a modern-day Jim Crow “law”: That liberals and Democrats feel it’s acceptable to demonize Hispanic and black conservatives.
Next, I went to Twitter. “I can’t believe what just happened. I met up with friends for breakfast at Paradis Books and Bread in North Miami & while we were having discussions about politics we were told by the owner that we were not welcomed there because we aren’t politically aligned. Outrageous,” I tweeted. It went viral almost immediately, with over 2.5 millions views as of Tuesday afternoon.
But, what if I didn’t have a platform or worked for the Fox News channel? The restaurant would have gotten away with reckless and discriminatory behavior.
For some on the left, intolerance has become the rule, not the exception. Last year in Florida, a canvasser supporting the re-election campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio was beaten down on the street. Sen Rubio later tweeted: “Last night one of our canvassers wearing my T-shirt and a [Florida Gov. Ron] Desantis [sic] hat was brutally attacked by 4 animals who told him Republicans weren’t allowed in their neighborhood in #Hialeah #Florida. He suffered internal bleeding, a broken jaw & will need facial reconstructive surgery.”
Last year, former U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, running for Governor of New York at the time, was attacked by a man wielding a sharp object at a campaign event near Rochester, New York. Thankfully he didn’t sustain any injuries but it could have looked a lot different had he not had security.
In an appearance on “Jesse Watters Primetime,” US Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) — a black conservative — observed: “The greatest threat to the liberal coalition are black conservatives who stand up and think for ourselves,” noting “Biden’s approval ratings have never been lower in the African American community and the Hispanic community.”
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
My experience at Paradis Books and Bread is a clear case of discrimination that should not be tolerated in Florida or anywhere in America. Whether liberal or conservative, no one should ever be asked to leave a place of business for engaging in political conversation in respectful dialogue. I believe Paradis is promoting a sort of political segregation that hearkens back to the days of the Jim Crow South and runs counter to the restaurant’s harm-reduction policy. People like my friend Sean Hannity have asked what I intend to moving forward, and many have suggested I take legal action.
I will make an announcement on social media (@GiannoCaldwell ) in the near future on which path I choose. Ultimately, I will let God guide me on the right path. If I can say this without anyone “feeling uncomfortable,” I hope that, moving forward, others will do the same.